The Swimsuit Edition, Where Sexism Knows No Size


Originally posted on The Melissaverse:

Apparently we’re all supposed to celebrate the fact that an average-sized woman will appear in this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

I’m told it’s some kind of triumph that, of the many women pointlessly objectified on the pages of a magazine that’s supposed to be about sports, one will be somewhat heavier than all the others. Sexism is so deeply woven into the fabric of sports in America that this, incredibly, is meant to represent progress.

Never mind that this year’s cover model, in addition to being exactly the size you’d expect her to be, is also waxed to within an inch of her life. Never mind that only average-sized model in the magazine appears not as part of an editorial layout but in an ad. Never mind that both women appear to have been liberally airbrushed, unless you believe neither of their bodies has a single stray hair, birthmark…

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A Quick Thought…


I’d just like to let everyone know that women aren’t really complaining about chivalry being dead…The only people I hear talking about chivalry are men who claim that women are upset about men not holding doors open for them.

Women want equal pay, equal rights, equal everything. I couldn’t give a shit if you hold a damn door open for me or like…throw your coat over a puddle so I can walk over it.

This is a non-issue, guys, and it’s distracting from real inequality and the real issues here. So let’s put it to bed: no one is concerned about the “death of chivalry.” Be polite, normal humans to men and women and intersex people and trans people, and let it go.

Now. Next step, equal rights. K thanks bye.

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I’m Not FOR Men


I’d like to clear a few things up.

As a bisexual woman, I encounter a lot of nonsense on a daily basis. I hear these bizarre — and offensive — comments on a pretty regular basis, mostly from men but sometimes from women. But let’s be real…I mostly hear this shit from men.

“Oh, you like chicks AND dudes? That’s hot.”

No. I am not for you. When you hear that I’m not exclusively interested in men, you still think that my sexuality is something for you to enjoy? You hear that I like kissing girls and you think I’m doing that for you? You poor, poor moron. This is all for me.

“Oh, so you must sleep around a lot.”
I have the same sex drive as anyone else. I just am driven toward both men and women. But thank you for basically calling me a slut?

“Oh, so you just can’t decide whether you’re straight or gay.”
Yes. Obviously I am experimenting. Testing out both ponds in order to decide which one I’d like to swim in forever.
NO! Sexuality is a spectrum. A continuum. A lot of people are sexually attracted to both men and women. I’m not indecisive, this isn’t a phase, I’m not experimenting because it’s college and I like to drunk-kiss girls. This is a thing I have always felt, and it is who I am.

This shit gets really annoying. So I keep it to myself, mostly. I don’t feel the need to be explicit or particularly public about my sexuality, but I also don’t want to feel like I have to hide it in order to feel comfortable. It’s frustrating that people find it acceptable to not only have these ideas and thoughts, but to express them to my face, often while attempting to hit on me.

So be a good, sensitive, intelligent human. Educate yourself. Use good manners. And please, for the love of god, stop asking me if I’ll have a threesome with you and some random girl.

Healthy Living, or I Sexy-Danced for My Cat


I hate New Years Resolutions because I think that every day, not just January 1, presents an opportunity for change, but I think I’ve accidentally made one…

I’m going to lose weight. How much is my own business, and I share enough of my life on here as it is, but it’s really important to me that I lose it. I want to be healthy, feel better, get active, eat well. And…judging by how much pizza I ate last semester alone, this change is a little overdue. But better late than never, I guess! Plus…as much as I’m always yelling “love your body no matter what!” I want to feel sexy again, and it’s hard to do that when most of your clothes don’t fit. I suppose I could go all Lady Godiva on everyone, but I don’t particularly feel like getting arrested.

I’ve been back in my apartment for the last two days, and since then have been cooking for every meal, juicing, and exercising. Plus, I’ve had so much water that half of my life seems to be spent in the bathroom. Again, I share too much of my life on this blog. But I feel really good! A little more energetic and excited for the future. Y’all know how much I love to cook — the more complicated the recipe, the better — so this is fun for me.

The weather was gorgeous yesterday, so I went on a run around my neighborhood, past my old apartment. I bumped into an old friend — the little tiny kitty cat that lived upstairs — and she ran up to me for a cuddle. If every run involves snuggling tiny cats, I’ll lose this weight in no time.

But the weather changed today. It’s been so cold in my apartment that I checked at least 5 times to make sure the heater was actually working. There’s fog outside my window — so much that I can’t see outside. And so, with no other option but to stay inside and die slowly, I decided to work out and generate some body heat…and my sister had just given me a Zumba DVD.

Zumba is ridiculous. I probably burned more calories laughing at the instructors and myself than I burned from the actual workout. I kept yelling, “I CAN’T SALSA WHAT IS HAPPENING” while my cat stood under my feet and only just escaped being trampled at least three times. He retreated to his cat castle while I did this weird dance move that involved more shimmying than was really appropriate and I’m pretty sure I learned to booty-pop.

So I guess today’s lesson is…if you want to lose weight and you need to keep warm, you can always sexily dance for your cat.

xo

Cool It, People


Lately, I’ve had a few adults (and I say adults like I’m not one because they’re my parents’ age and also because I refuse to grow up) make sassy and inappropriate comments about my appearance. “Oh my goodness, what have you done to your hair? And you’ve got things in your nose!” When I hear these comments, I never quite know how to react, so I default to laughing a little and sort of ignoring the fact that I was just insulted tremendously by someone who should know better.

Maybe I should put them in their place, say, “Listen, sister, you better cool it because that’s rude and you’re clearly an ignorant moron.” Maybe I should forget everything I’ve ever learned and believed about nonviolence and just throw a glass of wine in their face — glass included. But today I’ve decided to just have a mini-rant on the internet because that’s what feels necessary. A little bebe PSA on how to act, because you’re an adult, and you know what you say is hurtful.

Yes, I choose to look this way. I choose to dye my hair and pierce my nose and have tattoos. But other people have a choice, too. They can either accept me for the way that I am, or judge me for what they see on the surface. They can choose to actually explore the creativity and kindness I have to offer the world, or they can — through willful ignorance — decide that they don’t care to expend any effort by getting to know me.

I’m pretty tame looking, if we’re being honest. I know people with so many tattoos and piercings you barely know what color their skin was originally. It takes all kinds of people to make this world as gorgeous as it is, and for people to expect everyone to look and act just like them is pretty unrealistic and frankly a little ridiculous. People are going to have to get used to seeing colored hair and piercings and style choices that they don’t like, because welcome to real life — things change. People don’t wear corsets and wigs anymore, thank goodness. Styles and tastes progress.

I think the most important thing to take away is this: if you see someone and you decide you don’t like their hair or their clothes or their septum piercing or their massive leg tattoo, get over it. Choose to not get a tattoo for yourself, but don’t put others down for their personal choices. Those choices are some of the few that will literally never hurt you personally — my nose piercing impacts zero percent of your life. Don’t get one yourself, sure — it would be pretty weird to see everyone wandering around with septum piercings and mooing like cows — but shut the hell up about mine.

I’m proud of myself for being an individual. I’m glad I don’t look like every other 21 year old white girl on this planet. I’m happy that when I walk out my door I do it with integrity and don’t try to pretend to be someone I’m not. As long as we’re all expressing our true selves, I say rock on. And if you’ve got an issue with that, go complain about it to someone else.

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Happy Happy


I just wanted to sit down and write something in the middle of the night because…I’m happy.

I’m happy because I’m warm in my bed and it’s absolutely frigid outside. I’m happy because I’m going home this weekend to visit my family and exist outside of this college town for a few days. I’m reading Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please, and every page I read reminds me of who I’m going to become — spirited and wise and silly. I played so much guitar yesterday that my fingers are still sore today. I’m listening to The Doors, Peter Paul and Mary, The Allman Brothers Band, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young…and realizing how much beautiful music has made my life worth living. I spent the day with my roommate studying at a coffee shop and actually got a lot of work done. I’m happy because I’ve got two exams this week and feel enormously unprepared for both of them but…when has that ever stopped me? There’s always time.

I’ve found people I love and I spend time with them. I tell them how I feel about them. They feel the same way back.

I smell like incense almost every day because I bought champa flower oil and haven’t been able to stop sniffing myself for the past year. I worked out and ate cookies today.

I’m happy because…I’m me. And I’m a happy person. Even the word “happy” looks happy and that makes me happy, too.

One Time I Wrote Fanfic


It was awesome. There’s something really exhilarating about writing absolute tripe on the internet…maybe that’s why I like blogging. Anyway, it’s some of the most ridiculous nonsense I’ve ever written but I thought I’d share it with you here, because…because it’s Downton Abbey fanfic and Carson is sassy in it. So you’re welcome.

 

Midnight in the Library

In which Carson keeps it tight. Meow.

“Carson.” Thomas leaned against the doorframe, his sleeves rolled to the crook of his arm, vest buttons undone. His chest rose and fell quickly over labored breath. “Carson, I need you.”

Charles Carson looked up from his desk, his glasses at the tip of his nose. He pulled them off to chew tenderly on the end of his wire frames. “Oh?”

Thomas walked forward, leaning on the desk and pushing his face toward Carson’s. A small trickle of sweat ran down his temple, his hair disheveled, chest still heaving. “You’ve got no idea.”

This had become a common occurrence lately, as Thomas became more and more stressed with his duties serving Branson, so Carson was not particularly surprised to see him in disarray, panting above him. At first, Carson had disapproved of Thomas’ growing familiarity, running into his office at all hours of the evening, constantly needing advice or support of some kind. But loneliness gets the better of even the most upstanding men, and he’d begun to find Thomas’ adoration difficult to eschew. Carson was leaving tomorrow, anyway, without a word to anyone, not even Thomas. So no, it wasn’t surprising that Thomas arrived in Carson’s office at midnight, as the last bits of his candle flickered weakly. What was surprising, however, was that a desk still separated the two men.

Thomas led him into the library, fingers lightly grazing Carson’s hip through his jacket while he spoke. “I just can’t get these books straightened.” Never mind that book-straightening had never been an actual duty around Downton. Never mind that, had it been, Carson would have been even less capable of the task than Thomas. Never mind that they could be caught at any moment, suspiciously wandering the upstairs while the family slept. Nothing mattered now. Not now that Carson was leaving Downton forever. This was their last night together, and it would be spent in their place. It would be spent in the library.

It was too much. Carson found no reason to stay at Downton now, not now that he’d sullied his position and all it stood for. He’d loved every moment of his mischief, loved every warm breath that had passed from between Thomas’ beautiful lips, loved every second they’d spent alone in this darkened room. But he could no longer look Lord Grantham in the eye at dinner with these secrets ricocheting through his head. Given his propensity for telling the truth, no matter the cost, Carson knew he wouldn’t make it much longer without outing Thomas and himself as the sinners they were. The incandescent, passionate, sinning lovers they’d become.

It had been the false premises that intrigued him, always gave him that giddy fluttering in his stomach that he’d never experienced before. The questions Thomas had needed to ask him in the wee hours of the morning, drawing him from his bed in just a nightshirt. Before, he’d walked a tightrope of perfection that had thrilled him; polishing candlesticks had made his heart race in a way no woman ever had. But Thomas was an enigma, the most beautiful enigma, and now that he’d tasted freedom with Thomas, staying at Downton felt futile.

So he stood in the library, that same candle glimmering away in all its dying glory, his arm against a bookshelf as Thomas stood between him and so many classic pieces of literature, his breath catching in his throat, passion choking him as it never had before.

“Thomas,” Carson breathed. Thomas’ eyes twinkled wildly, his lips curled into the most glorious smirk he had ever seen. He exhaled heavily, leaning closer.

The candle flickered and, in a tiny burst of light, died.

In A Language I Don’t Know


I’ve never understood why so many Americans get upset when people don’t speak English…I love when students speak Spanish around campus, or Mandarin, or one of the million Indian languages that exist. It’s comforting.

I think it serves as a good reminder that I am not the center of the Universe, that people exist in other capacities besides the ones I perceive them in. And it’s nice, sometimes, to be unaware of what’s going on. To relinquish control a little.

When I was in India, I only understood about 10% of what was happening at any given time. People would speak their native language at me (which I always thought was hilarious, because – let’s be honest – my grasp of English is already ridiculous) and I’d just sort of nod along, confused but aware that whatever happened would probably be fine. It’s a wonder I didn’t end up married to one of the men I met on the street. Or maybe I did and just didn’t notice.

The point is, sometimes it’s nice to feel a little out of your depth, because usually you find a way to deal with that challenge in a productive way. You learn to gesture at things and mime actions in order to get people to understand you. You end up laughing a lot because you’re being an idiot, miming “the painting of the Mona Lisa” at a stranger on the street, and the strange little connections you make with people over things like that can be the most beautiful ones. Some of my favorite encounters in Bangalore involved people bobbling their heads, laughing at me, and giggling “no no no” as I attempted to figure out how to order food or get directions to a temple. I was blessed in one of those temples by the tiniest little man who, as I knelt in front of him, my forehead on the cold stone floor, touched my head so lightly and spoke words containing such meaning and power that they transcended language and traveled directly to my soul. The profundity of that moment will never diminish in my memory.

I miss that. I miss not understanding but somehow still knowing. I don’t like constant English, and I’m almost definitely in the minority on that one, but I really hated coming back to the States and not hearing Kannada everywhere I went. It made me feel lonely. Too connected.

I made this playlist today because it’s a dark, quiet day and it reminded of how little I understand the world. But that doesn’t feel discouraging…it feels so wonderfully exhilarating – so thrilling – that I don’t know anything, because it means I get to discover so many things. There is so much to learn.

I’m really stoked on life today, and it may or may not have something to do with the fact that I’m over-caffeinated and literally bouncing up and down in a coffee shop while working on homework, but I think I’d feel this way with or without that half a latte (you read that right: half a latte. My body is an idiot and won’t let me drink adult drinks without freaking out).

Humans are really beautiful creatures sometimes. It takes some time, but ultimately, we end up united. And that’s the best way to end this post: with a really cheesy statement about hope.

Mating Rituals


My roommate fed me a cheese curd from Dairy Queen earlier today and I told her I loved her because…cheese. She just stuck it right in my mouth cuz she loves me, and now the feeling is mutual. Then…then she uttered the funniest, truest thing I’ve heard all week:

“Before you mate with the wild Cappy, gently feed her cheese curds. Don’t be too aggressive or you might scare her off.”

She’s right. I like to be fed cheese gently. Take notes, fellas.

On Diwali: Glorious, Magical, Bittersweet


Only the best restaurant I've ever eaten at in Bangalore.

Only the best restaurant I’ve ever eaten at in Bangalore.

It’s Diwali, and with that comes so much light and love and happiness for me as a Hindu. I continually learn about elements of my faith with each passing holiday, so I always have a hard time explaining Diwali to other people, but the most beautiful thing for me about Hinduism is that I feel it deep in my soul. I understand it there first, and then in my head. That doesn’t always sit well with others, but its what makes Hinduism mine. It’s why I am Hindu and not Jain or Sikh or Muslim or Jewish or anything else. I am inherently Hindu, deep through my core, and it bursts out of me in the most glorious ways. I am a human representation of the physical aspect of Diwali.

I am drawn, like that cliche moth to its mother flame, toward the light and love that Diwali represents, both in the material and spiritual worlds. But as I celebrate, I miss my mother. I miss India. I miss my spirit’s home. Hinduism and India, in my heart, are one.

So many things have reminded me of Bangalore this past week, even before I began celebrating the festival of light. My roommate bought a new hand soap that I’d used while I was in Bangalore, and every time I wash my hands I feel like crying a little as the scent reminds me of my time there. I watched a few videos of people celebrating Diwali in New Delhi and Bombay and once again felt like crying as I saw the trees wrapped in the most fluorescent lights known to mankind. I miss seeing those everywhere at night, simultaneously blinding and entrancing me. When I was in Bangalore, those lights comforted me even as I felt like dying from E. coli or homesickness for America, and remembering that they exist makes me want to jump aboard the nearest plane and endure 20 hours of air travel just so I can see them again.

India is magic. I miss the old men, laughing louder than I’d ever heard anyone laugh before, burping after they ate a good meal, looking at me like I was just a silly child when I got confused about directions. I miss rickshaws, those sassy little vehicles that simultaneously inspired terror and joy as they careened throughout the narrow side-streets. I miss women touching my blonde hair and telling me I was so tall. Mangoes. Everyone laughing at me. With me.

But in the same breath that I call India magical, I must also call it devastating. The duality of India is not lost on me: rich and poor living directly next to each other. Beggar children with no shoes standing atop piles of trash. Cattle wandering aimlessly, without owners or protection. Wild dogs, all of them with at least one injured limb, begging for food. Rabid. Begging. India begs, often without pride or ego, with the most desperate voice. It’s not something anyone can easily forget or ignore.

But it’s like a lover you can never leave behind. India. She appears in my dreams, calling out, begging me to return. And oh god, I would oblige if I only could. I don’t think I’d ever wept before, but I weep now for my companion. India is a physical representation of my god, my religion, the spirituality I feel deep within. And I need her now more than ever.

Diwali is glorious, shining, happy. I will celebrate and pray and love, of course, because this holiday is perfect. But this year, it is also tinged with sadness as I experience a longing for the home I never truly grew up in, wishing teleportation would hurry up and invent itself, because I’m homesick.